In a landscape by Homestead Gardens, a stone path winds towards the Severn River. © Homestead Gardens

Ask the Pros: Landscape

Advice on designing a landscape by the bay

How do you select the best plant material for a project located on or near the bay?

When choosing plant material for a waterfront landscape, we first determine how much space there will be to work with when planning the garden. We then look at the usual criteria, including amounts of sun and shade throughout the day, and how well the soil drains. But planting a garden in the critical area, where it will be part of a mitigation plan, requires adhering to a different set of criteria. First, we make sure we are using native plant material that will withstand weather and other environmental challenges. If we are planting near salt or brackish water where wave or storm action can whip the water up, we also pay attention to salt spray, which can damage foliage. Another concern is tidal flooding, which can inundate planting beds. Jon Moran, Homestead Gardens Landscape Division, Davidsonville, Maryland